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Bucket List / Budget List: Hong Kong

Street food, historic temples, vibrant nightlife and unrivalled shopping. There’s a Hong Kong trip for everyone, get started on planning yours.

Best for Luxury

Hong Kong loves horse racing, and nowhere captures the island’s magnetic mix of luxury, energy and tradition better than Happy Valley Racecourse. The lush, emerald-green circuit gleams against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers, and the noise from a passionate crowd can be heard all the way to the mainland. The VIP boxes lining the upper tiers of the neon-lit grandstand offer fusion food, cool breezes and a view you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Extend the magic of an evening at the races by heading to an equally splendid hotel.

The Upper House for an urban oasis

The Upper House hotel is more relaxing than you’d think was possible, considering the buzz of HK’s high-end shopping district is on its doorstep. Cool off in one of its pool-like tubs, taking in the views over the greenery towards Victoria Harbour. Feel the grass between your toes as you sip cocktails in the hidden, torch-lit, sixth-floor garden, or just join one of the free weekend yoga classes. Then you’re ready to get back into the whirl of Hong Kong street life.

The Peninsula for old-world glamour

The fleet of gleaming Rolls-Royces outside and the helicopter idling on the roof tell you that The Peninsula’s guests like to arrive in style. Which is unsurprising, because this classic Hong Kong hotel is all about the big statement. Rooms are just the right side of bling and you’ll love soaking it up in your marble bath tub. Restaurant choices run all the way from Swiss chalet to Philippe Starck-designed minimalism, but our favourite is still the pre-war glamour of full afternoon tea. Add a 12,000 sq ft spa that any Roman emperor would give the thumbs up to, and it’s clear the self-styled ‘finest hotel east of Suez’ is still the one to beat.

CHI Residences for a home-from-home

CHI Residences 279 offers all the convenience of a home, combined with high-end hotel touches – think cashmere throws and plenty of space. It’s also right in the centre of the island’s most diverse neighbourhood. Outside, you’ll find the spicy scents of the night market and the air-conditioned glamour of Langham Place shopping mall; that’s the contrast of Hong Kong all over.

Best for Budget

One of Hong Kong’s most epic experiences comes in at the price of a tram ticket. The Peak Tram is a rickety, impossibly steep ride up through views that’ll have you reaching for your camera. Aim to arrive at dusk for a bird’s-eye view of the Symphony of Lights; the city’s nightly show sends a rainbow of searchlights and coloured lasers out over the bay.

It’s not just Hong Kong’s light show that’s a bargain, either – check out these wallet-friendly hotels.

TUVE for high-end design

Step down a Victoria Park side street into what looks like a minimal art gallery; it’s only the black-clad concierge behind the brass desk that gives you a clue this is a hotel. The TUVE’s rooms are moodily lit expanses of brushed concrete and glowing glass panels, and it’s a tribute to the designers that something so rigorously cool is also very comfortable. Little touches make all the difference: free smartphones and blazing-fast Wi-Fi for keeping in touch, and the mini bar’s curation of cool new brands. Foodies also love the contemporary Silver Room restaurant. If you’ve ever fancied staying in a piece of modern art, then TUVE is the hotel for you.

Mira Moon for playful charm

If you don’t know the Chinese legend of the Moon Goddess and her Jade Rabbit before you arrive at Mira Moon, you will by check-out. Rabbits in every form – cartoon, sculpture, painted – adorn much of this boutique gem. It’s all part of Mira Moon’s whimsical charm. When it comes to the bedrooms, you’ll find decorated wooden ceilings, tulip-shaped armchairs and claw-foot bathtubs; it’s a good thing the rooms here are much larger than most in Hong Kong. The playful vibe continues in the restaurants: the swinging lanterns and silk costumes of the verdant Secret Garden could come straight from a 1920s film, while the rock-crystal Champagne Bar is classic Hollywood glamour.

Shama Central for space and comfort

After a day in the flurry of a Hong Kong holiday, a sense of calm feels like the right contrast; welcome to Shama Central. These roomy, serviced apartments are low on unnecessary frills, but are packed with home comforts, such as neat kitchenettes and comfy couches. And once you step out of your air-conditioned cocoon, you’re in the heart of one of Hong Kong’s most vibrant districts. Peel Street is one of those steeply sloping, stall-lined roads that throngs with 20 different languages and cuisines from all four corners of the world.